To the Editor:
It is with great sadness that I have learned of the death of a great colleague and friend, Dave Simser. Dave served with Barnstable County as its tick and Lyme disease specialist and entomologist. Dave’s knowledge of ticks and tick-borne diseases is unparalleled and has provided critical insights into the co-infection factor in ticks.
Dave was one of the first people I met when I moved to the Island, having been through my personal battle with three tick-borne illnesses. He and I immediately struck up a working friendship, and anytime I needed the most current information on infection rates in ticks on the Vineyard, or an update on tick loads in specific Island locations, he was only a phone call away. Dave and I enjoyed cups of coffee and talks about his research — work spanning many years and even many more trips back and forth from the Cape to the islands to monitor the deer treatment stations and take tick counts.
Thankfully, due to recently procured federal funding and those dedicated to continuing this critical project, the work will go on. I remember when Dave got his news about his cancer, and mostly I remember his positive attitude about how he would carry on in spite of it. He was grateful to be able to continue working at what he loved best — bugs.
Dave will be sorely missed by his friends, family, his colleagues, those in the Lyme community who have benefited from his research, and his best friend and wife Kimberly. He personally touched my life with his grace, benevolence and humility, and sense of humor. Dave’s loss leaves a big hole in the face of a rising epidemic of tick-borne illness on the Cape and islands. It’s up to us to carry on with his important work and continue to deliver the message of the seriousness of Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses, while working to reduce the incidence of these diseases through prevention and education.
Martha’s Vineyard Lyme Disease Association Inc.